It is your assignment to briefly summarize the facts, identify the ethical issues and make a recommendation that would have avoided or solved the problem if the decision makers had used the theories proposed by the text writers. The case study format is an effective method for analyzing ethical problems in business. Ethical business cases sometimes have multiple issues with multiple alternatives, consequences, and personal implications. Although there are no demonstrably correct answers in ethical case analyses of business issues, you are expected to provide a logically cohesive and succinctly analytic, well-reasoned answer.
But the Cases already have the problems solved – what am I supposed to do? When you read the Cases, it will seem that the corporation or organization encountered a dilemma and solved it – so the real question is ‘what is there to talk about’? What this Case Analysis is for is to have you identify the ethical dilemma and discuss how it arose in the context of the text writer’s theories for ethical decision making. Basically, you will need to develop the time line for events that occurred before the corporation or organization encountered the dilemma (leading up to it) and events that occurred after the dilemma (the fall out and/or corrective measures) and analyze the before actions and the after actions.
What form is this Case Study supposed to take? A paper! A paper with several distinct subheadings as listed below:
Briefly summarize the case. When you summarize, you are being asked to simply state the facts – not whether you agree or disagree, not whether it is right or wrong, nor is it a place to say what they should have done – ONLY GIVE THE FACTS!!
What is the most significant ethical issue(s) that will form the essential basis of your analysis? Issues in a case are usually phrased by raising normative questions: Should we?? Does the action?? For example: Do genetic testing and genetic susceptibility to certain traits have a place in hiring practices? The question is stated in a manner that can be answered yes or no. You must examine the issue(s) from a moral and ethical perspective (i.e., right or wrong, good or bad, fair or unfair, just or unjust). Issues may also be defined by identifying a specific ethical dilemma to be resolved. In any event, your position should be supported by well-reasoned arguments.
Having identified the issue(s), what are the alternatives you would recommend. What could the company do or have done? Think of the alternatives as giving a thesis statement – for example: ‘Whether institutionalizing the Stakeholder Model for Decision making would have prevented Wal-mart’s from making some of the decisions it made’- the question should be one that can be answered with a yes or no and then you must answer the question AND give reasons to support your answer (remember – the only incorrect answer is one that is not supported by a reason!) You must present and evaluate at least one (1) alternatives. In the example given above, you will need to list and consider stakeholders who will be affected (positively or negatively) by the alternative. You must also discuss the pros & cons of each alternative (i.e., does it affect marketing strategy, market share, etc.) In addition you should be sure to apply the moral philosophical theories that are at play to justify an alternative (i.e., to take this alternative is an example of utilitarianism because….)
Which one alternative do you recommend the company adopt and why? Compare, analyze, integrate, and support your recommendation based on synthesis and analysis of the relevant alternatives through factual analytic observations and normative inquiry, marshalling evidence or argumentation justifying, supporting or defending the reasoning for your choice in context of their impacts on relevant stakeholders, corporate and community interests. Who are the parties affected, what dichotomous interests may be at stake, and how would potential conflicts be accommodated?
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